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Morning Joe

News/Business. Interviews with newsmakers and politicians; host Joe Scarborough. New.

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Afghanistan 57, Us 27, Rick Santorum 22, Willie 14, Washington 14, Iraq 13, Santorum 11, America 10, Romney 9, United States 9, Illinois 9, Barack Obama 9, Obama 8, New York 8, Iowa 8, Sam Stein 8, Chris Christie 7, Mika 7, Florida 7, Taliban 6,
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  MSNBC    Morning Joe    News/Business. Interviews with newsmakers  
   and politicians; host Joe Scarborough. New.  

    March 19, 2012
    6:00 - 8:59am EDT  

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>> listen, we lost. if i had to lose to anybody, it would be to wisconsin. good people, good fans. madison, one of the greatest places on the face of the earth. congratulations, badgers. "morning joe" starts right now. the more i look at the record of governor romney and match it up against barack obama, i feel like i'm doing a training run for the general election. the same issues i'm out there campaigning against governor romney are the same issues i'll campaign against barack obama on, which is the government overreaching health care and cap and trade, trying to control the manufacturing and energy sector of the economy. and of course, you know, the bailouts. all of these things are, you know, unfortunately governor romney and barack obama are in the same place. welcome to "morning joe." it's monday morning, march 19. great to have you here.
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and at the beginning of your week. with us also msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican national committee, michael still. political editor and white house correspondent for the huffington post sam stein. and also, washington anchor for bbc world news america, catty kay. and on set with us our own willie geist. and, willie, we'll go to willie in a second because i have to say i want to -- when i go to willie, michael, i want to look around, and i want to see all the places that they hung the hammer and the single while i was away. i cannot tell you -- i cannot tell you how many calls, emails, tweets i got, seriously. apparently, they had a lot of fun. they had chavez for like the whole hour.
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american imperialism. good or bad? that's not a good imitation. but come on, i hear they went pretty far left. >> that was great. finally got to watch the show. >> finally. >> i was a little worried there. i was worried for you, joe. >> seriously, by wemds over thursday -- >> it was tough. >> joe was drinking so much italian wine he didn't even notice. >> by the time i woke up in florence on friday, it was too late. >> he loves it now. >> they had turned it into red square. so we have a lot to talk about today. i want to start first, with this tragic story. i got home, and i was watching news accounts of this guy, robert bails, who gunned down 16 civilians, women and children. just about as horrific of a war crime i think and just -- you think of the terrible things that have happened in this country's past when they are at war.
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and i don't know about you guys, but my first reaction when i saw this was you gun down women and children, we're going to have to -- we're going to have to give him the worst possible punishment to send a message. and i still feel that way. but you read "the new york times" story on this young man. you hear stories from -- you always hear this, oh, i would have never guessed that a guy, you know, the son of sam would have killed. but in this case, there were videos, and there were stories, about this kid helping disabled guys in his high school that everybody else picked on and he adopted them, and he took them around. he sounded like he was an extraordinary young man. until about the third deployment. >> right. >> and then the fourth deployment. and of course you have special ops men and women that are on their seventh, eighth, ninth,
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deployment. nothing justifies it. i'm not justifying it. i'm just saying there is an extraordinary strain, and the weaker among these troops just may snap. and this is what happens when the united states is an occupying power for a decade, which we have been. >> if you go to war for 10 years, you are going to get individuals who have been good, honest, upstanding members of your community who do three or four terms as sergeant bales did, and who are going to crack under the strain. war does terrible things to people. it pushes people beyond the bounds of reason and humanity. and the job of the armed forces superiors is to watch the ones who are likely to crack and get them out of there. >> katty, i personally know a few people who experienced 9/11
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up close, who were never the same emotionally, who were shattered, who were a shell of themselves a decade later. and these were people in their 40s, 50s, 60s. but the sight of bodies coming off the roof, hearing them hit, hearing the thud, it still gets them up in the middle of the night, 10, 11 years later. imagine what being an 18-year-old, 19-year-old, 20-year-old kid, seeing the hell that you see in iraq. you know, yesterday was the nine-year anniversary of iraq. what these young men and women have been through for the past decade. again, i am not making a case for this young man. i'm making a case for bringing our troops home. >> right. >> the united states is not an occupying power. we are not good at occupying a country during times of war for a decade. but if 9/11 shattered adults' lives what, does seeing one
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friend after another friend after another friend blown up over the decade or as sebastian younger says, walking around knowing any second the sniper's bullet goes through your eye, what does that do to the psyche of these people? and to the wives at home? and the husbands at home? and the children at home? this is -- we are -- we are betraying our troops, katty. >> i don't think any country, and this is not a case just of america, i don't think any country can go to war for this long and not expect individuals to be deeply scarred by it. and you -- and the longer we are there, the more tired the troops become, the more they will have seen of their friends being killed, of civilians in the country being killed. he would have witnessed children in iraq being killed. and this is going to happen more. >> right. >> every month we are there for longer, we are going to get more incidents like this, like the
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accidental burnings of the qur'an, like the soldiers ur-tainateing on dead bodies. and the longer we are there, the investment you have made will be diminished. >> and michael, you got in trouble for several years ago for talking about afghanistan. obviously, all of us around the table in new york have been talking about for three years we need to get out of there. we need to get out of there in large part because mission accomplished. there are 40 to 50 members of al qaeda left in afghanistan. some of these neocon senators have more people working on their staff in capitol hill than there are members of al qaeda in all of afghanistan. we are betraying our troops. we are betraying their wives and children and husbands and mothers and fathers that they left home. and it is the law of diminishing return. we are falling off a steep cliff. we need to bring the troops home. >> well, i will submit to you it's not a question of falling off. we have fallen off.
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>> we fell off. >> and that was the point that i was making to congressional candidates in 2010 when they were asking me, how do we answer the question on afghanistan. i said you've got to be honest about it. you've got to reflect to people exactly what they feel and they are saying in their neighborhoods and communities. what's the point? we don't get it. we have been here. we don't see the end game. there is no mission. and to both your points about the soldiers, there comes a point where they become desensitized to the humanity that's required to actually be out there around people and not look at them as targets and not look at them as, you know, something to go after. you know, they forget they have kids at home. they have wives at home. and when they see in this particular case women and children, they don't see them the way they saw them the first day they showed up, as something to protect. >> or the 10th day or the 65th day. >> exactly. >> or the fifth year or the sixth year. >> can i make a point -- >> yeah, i was just going to
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say, sam, it's interesting, we started going out on book tours, giving speeches, about 2007, 2008. you could already americans were starting to ask, why are we in afghanistan? why are we still there? and you're starting to hear some of the candidates pick this up. some of the hawks. santorum is backing off. gingrich is backing off. because they are starting to hear what we have been hearing all along. and that is, americans don't want to spend $2 billion a week in afghanistan anymore. and they don't want their sons and daughters dying over there. >> there's a political and economic rationale for it has long since been removed, i think, and it's very tough for any politician, save the most vocal neocon, to say there's a reason for us to stay there. one thing that struck me about the story, and i don't pretend to know any of this. i'm not close enough to these people to know where this happens. but this was a guy who was sort of alone in his town, as in this
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was our bobby, he went off to war, he was the guy from town who went off to war. he was on his fourth tour. it's compartmentalized. we are putting such a burden on a small section of society that when things like this happen it's shocking because we haven't thought about it for years. >> that's a great point. even in vietnam, bobby could come home. and talk to jim at the bar. when he's away from a deployment and go, god, can you believe what we're going through, and he has somebody to talk to. you go from the frontlines and the hell that they are putting up with, and especially, god, in iraq, and then in afghanistan, and you come home and you have nobody to talk to. >> absolutely nobody. >> nobody to talk to. what does that do? let's listen to rick santorum. this is what rick said yesterday about the president's error in the approach to the war. >> the policy of this
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administration does something you simply can't do if you want to win a war particularly against a guerrilla insurgent force, and that is give them hope that they can survive. that's what the president has done from day one when he put a time line for us to leave afghanistan. if this is the game plan, if the game plan is we're leaving irrespective of whether we're going to succeed or not, then why are we still there? let's either commit to winning or let's get out. >> ok. first of all, with all due respect to rick, and a lot of republicans agree with him, he's wrong on all counts. the president's mistake was not creating a time line that was two or three years off. it was tripling the number of troops in afghanistan. and when he talks about winning the war, headline for all republicans and democrats that want to continue to fight this war, we won the war. it was an anti-terror campaign. we went in to get osama bin laden. we went in to break up al qaeda in afghanistan. where they launched the 9/11 attacks. we killed them.
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we routed them. we destroyed them. we didn't go in to beat the taliban. the taliban is a different thing. very different thing than al qaeda. the taliban doesn't want to blow up buildings in washington, d.c., or new york or charlotte or atlanta. they want to be left alone to run their country by second century standards. we should let them. here's mitt romney. >> the timing of withdrawal is going to be dependent upon what you hear from the conditions on the ground. that you understand by speaking with commanders there, as well as of course the people in afghanistan. and their ability to maintain their sovereignty and have the capacity to have a military that can stand up to the challenges they face. >> are you taking a stand here while much of your party is souring on afghanistan? >> well, before i take a stand on a particular course of action, i want to get the input from the people who are there. general allen is going to be coming to washington and testifying this week about what the conditions are.
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i think it's very plain to see that the conditions there are not going very well. and i lay part of the blame for that on the lack of leadership on the part of our president. >> i just don't get that. the president, willie, has given -- and i certainly am not defending the president of the united states on afghanistan. i'm going at him the other way. i think he listened to the generals too much. he tripled the number of troops. and there are people in the administration that will say i was telling them privately off the record the same thing that we've been saying on the record. that generals do what generals should do. they ask for as many troops as they can possibly get because their job is to route everybody on the ground. but sometimes, willie, well, a commander in chief has to listen to himself and listen to the civilian side of things. i mean, i don't know -- what is this, willie, with all of these republican candidates that are saying, oh, we've got to let the
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generals decide the number of troops that we're putting in afghanistan and how many more decades we stay there. i thought civilians were supposed to run the military under the constitution of the united states. >> well, it certainly is not a profile in courage or a profile in great leadership. if anything good has come out of the last month or so, what's happened in afghanistan, starting with the qur'an burning and this horrible incident last weekend with the staff sergeant, it's that we put afghanistan center stage and we're talking about it. and john mccain was on "meet the press" yesterday, and laid out the case again that i think you and i have listened to over and over from people who have come onto the set, which is that we cannot leave because if we leave, the taliban comes back and with the taliban comes al qaeda. the case senator mccain made yesterday was kind of that emotional case again that, remember, that's where 9/11 came from. wink. you don't want another 9/11, do you? the problem with that is, they're going to come back whenever we leave. the taliban lives there. they are going to be back.
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they're going to grow again. al qaeda may come back there. so do you stay another five years or 10 years or another 20 years? who's to say when it's time to go home? that's the problem with that open-ended argument. >> well, it is. and somebody said inartfully that the taliban was just pissed off partnshtoons, and they have been there taking on alexander the great, they've been there taking on the british empire, they have been there taking on the soviets. guess what? i don't want them to use our soldiers' heads and our marines' heads as target practice for another 10 years. i've got the greatest of respect for senator mccain. but, willie, we've been asking experts and senators and congressmen, administration officials -- i remember asking richard holbrook this before he passed away. for four years now, what's the
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long-term difference between the united states of america leaving in 2012 and leaving in 2022? and the answer is, there is none. they'll mutter on about -- and mitt romney says, oh, we've got to stay there long enough to prop up the afghan army. i mean, our sons and daughters are dying. and in this case, committing horrific acts, in defense of the karzai regime? willie, how many decades do we need to stay there to prop up the afghanistan government? one of the most corrupt governments on the planet. >> and i'll tell you another thing. the really sad part about it you could have made this case nearly 10 years ago. we went in october of 2011, wiped people out immediately. and if you look now 10 years later, gotten out sometime thereafter and said we have been there building roads and schools and water treatment plants in an effort to rebuild a society that frankly cannot be rebuilt. >> and the bottom line is, i'm
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going to upset a lot of people here, and of course i'm back, so i might as will do it. the problem is, when you get politics involved in national -- in international affairs, a lot of times bad things happen. the democrats started parroting in '05 and '06. afghanistan, that's the good war. if we had not gone into iraq, we would have won afghanistan. and now just like republicans are trying to blame barack obama for what's going on in afghanistan when he's tripled the number of troops. katty, i was on the plane in 2004 with a special ops guy coming out of hurlbert field, area i represented. so i asked him about iraq. i said a lot of people are really concerned about iraq. is it taking our eyes off of afghanistan where we really should be fighting this thing? and this guy did not like george w. bush at all. but he said, let me tell you, if we could move 100,000 troops from -- and this is 2004 -- he said if we could move 100,000
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troops from iraq straight into pakistan, i'd say fine. iraq is distracting us from the main mission. but if you move 100,000 troops from iraq to afghanistan, it's the same difference. because the problem is not afghanistan. there's a special ops guy, eight years ago. he said the problem is not afghanistan. the problem is pakistan. and we can't invade pakistan. >> we've spent 10 years trying to persuade the pakistanis that afghanistan is not essential to what they see as their existential relationship with india. we haven't managed to do that. and we're not going to manage to do that. and until the pakistanis decide that afghanistan is not their football in their big game with india, then whatever we do in afghanistan is kind of a losing wicket. the only argument to carry on staying in afghanistan is if we can leave behind a country that is more friendly to western national security interests than
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if we don't stay there. and staying there an extra year, as we are planning to do at the moment to try and boost the afghan forces, nobody seems to be able to say, right, we are actually going to come out of there and leave behind an afghanistan that is more friendly. to your point about the taliban and al qaeda, where is al qaeda now? they are in yemen, in the horn of africa. why would you try and make a base at the moment in afghanistan where you which make one in somalia scott free? >> exactly. >> it doesn't make sense. >> the numbers and the statistics are very obvious. we have put a lot of money into making the karzai government legitimate. it's corrupt. we have put a lot of money into training the afghan army. roads and schools are blown up routinely. it's not a very good investment at this point. >> and also what about the investment in musharraf? how many billions of dollars did we shove down his throat? >> and it's a valid point. and i just think one of the more pervasisuasive arguments i have
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heard, people look at military exercises and say we are going at this in an antiquated way. who says we need 70,000 troops in the ground in afghanistan to prevent al qaeda from coming back? >> how many troops did it take to get osama in the end? a bunch of navy s.e.a.l.s. >> and it's funny, because -- >> and by the way, you talk to guys in the agency. >> yeah. >> they say al qaeda is terrorized. they are not terrorized by american troops walking around with big targets. >> they are terrorized by that, the stuff that happens in the paper. >> well, they are terrorized -- the taliban is terrorized and al qaeda -- i mean, al qaeda is terrorized by drones. they cannot even walk from cave to cave now without looking up in the sky without thinking they are about to die. so we don't need 70,000 troops on the ground. >> you need better intelligence. >> the problem is, we are there in such big numbers and we have
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billions of dollars of equipment that the truism it's harder to end a war than to start a war is true in the case of afghanistan. but it's not possible to say come home tomorrow. the pakistanis have shut the borders down, so it's harder to get out. >> what the three of you said, you get back to the same question that has been perplexing for lo these many years. why are we still here, and what does the end game look like? >> do you know why we are still there? >> i have no idea. >> let me tell you why we're still there. and we've been saying it for three years, because no politician wants to be responsible for losing, quote, losing afghanistan. barack obama doesn't want to be responsible for not giving the generals everything they ask for because he'll look like a weak democrat, and the republicans don't want to give barack obama a break. so you have republicans and democrats who are basically looking at the political side of this. they don't want to be responsible for losing the war. and that's been the case for
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three years. >> and god forbid another terrorist attack is launched from afghanistan after the troops lose. >> and that's the vicious circle which keeps our troops on the ground and stuff like this happening. >> when there really is no military reason for our troops to be on the ground anymore. it's political. willie, let me ask you something. i was going to ask you at the beginning of the show, while i was gone last week, of course, doing my charity work like i do in nantucket, but this time i was doing it in florence and venice, those poor kids in venice. [ laughter ] >> but let me ask you, the flags, where exactly did mika hand the hammer and sickle and the statue of lenin and stalin? >> michael steele is only one man. he fought the good fight, but there's only so much he can do. >> holy cow. you know, we usually have the democratic hour of power here. but seriously, last week was a week with carl marks.
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even barnacle went way off the cliff. >> he was wearing a nike pullover track suit on friday, so he completely mailed it in by thursday afternoon. >> oh, i hear you guys were so unkind to mike barnicle, i even felt sorry for him. coming up, we're going to be talking to presidential candidate rick santorum. also, congressman elijah cummings. and later, we'll have willem dafoe stopping by. very exciting. also, mika jets in from the south of france. but first, here's bill cairns with a check on the forecast. bill, i just -- i don't know what to say about this weather except you've got to love global warming. i hope it sticks around for a couple of months. >> yeah, i know. don't go buying any snow blowers anytime soon. it's just incredible. international falls, minnesota, one of the coldest places there is, was 80 degrees this weekend. just insane numbers in the midwest. chicago 80 degrees five days in
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a row. and spring starts tomorrow, by the way. here's what we're looking at. incredible warmth east of the rockies. but now we're paying the price because the cold air that was on the west coast is now heading east. when the cold air hits the warm air, you'll have the thunderstorms. we had a tornado in north platte, nebraska, yesterday. now strong thunderstorms in oklahoma and texas. and later today, another mini tornado outbreak. a few strong tornadoes are possible. so dallas, ft. worth, austin area, waco, just outside of san antonio, you're in that zone of concern. as far as new england goes, maybe a few showers out there around pittsburgh and west virginia. but another very warm, mild day. the cherry blossoms are out in washington, d.c., and the warmth continues there in the southeast. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. ♪
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thinks i was being mean to him? >> hollow cow. what was that he was wearing? >> by the end of the show, i was wearing it. >> really? what is that? >> it was dress down week on "morning joe." >> we switched clothes because i wanted to prove to the world that women cannot wear what mike barnicle wears on the air. are we on the air? >> willie, what is that? >> that's that nice new breathable nike workout gear that he apparently finds appropriate for television. most don't. but barnicle breaking the mold. >> needed some support. what are you suggesting? like a man bra? >> it was just all wrong. >> i think he looks pretty good. welcome back. >> welcome back to you. did you have fun? >> well, i did. until i started getting, like,
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telegrams. >> what? we had fun. >> there was a siege of red square. >> oh, no. we missed you terribly. we tried our best to establish the fine balance you put on the table every morning. >> why don't we see what they are saying in prague this morning. president obama is struggling to bring in big dollar do mations with half as many people writing large checks to his campaign than at this point four years ago. democrats see a variety of explanations for such a dramatic drop, including the economy. a lack of support this time from wall street executives and the possibility that obama could easily beat the current crop of republican candidates. >> and actually the obama campaign is actually sending out negative polls that say if the election were held today, barack obama would lose. that's coming from the white house. nobody believes that, right? >> not at this moment. >> when get scared, they'll write checks. apple has made a decision on
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what to do with nearly $100 billion in cash that the company has been sitting on. we hope they invest in "morning joe" but many speculate that the company will issue dividends to its shareholders for the first time since 1995, and their stock hit record highs last week. >> yes, it did. that's a look at the headlines. now let's go to politico with willie. down close to where you are, the white house correspondent mike allen has a look at the playbook. good morning. >> good morning. >> one of your headlines this morning, ryan's budget bets. paul ryan going to unveil the republican budget tomorrow. what can we expect, number one, and what is the big bet? >> well, he tweeted last night that this budget is not going to hide from tough decisions. and talking to house republican officials, they tell us that he's not going to back off at all from the budget last year that drew a lot of fire from democrats. we're told that the ryan budget, which will be out at 10:30 tomorrow morning, will include
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changes to medicare again. we'll call it changing medicare. protects people who have it now. but will reduce benefits in the future. and he'll push for tax reform. again, i think you're going to hear house republicans say that they think that arguments have moved toward them since last year, that there's more of a consensus for tax reform which the president has proposed, that's there's more of a consensus for changes to medicare. david brooks wrote last week that no matter who is elected to president, changes to entitlements, fixing the deficit problems will be the number one issue on the plate of the next president. >> mike, as you pointed out, paul ryan has done this before. the voucher program for medicare and got hammered for it. what are the risks for not just him but for the republican party for doing this? >> he'll say they will be rewarded for talking to the nation like adults, not children. they are hoping for some
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bipartisan action this year. but what they are really saying is, this is going to be our mandate for the fall election. things are looking very good for republicans to keep the house. regardless of who gets the white house or regardless of who gets the senate. and they want this to be an afirming election. they are putting this out there so that if their majority is re-elected, they'll be able to say, hey, this is what you wanted and this is what we're going to try to do. >> we'll get joe's take in just a minute. mike, we'll talk to you. thanks so much. coming up, kansas goes down to the final seconds against purdue. north carolina loses its star point guard in a win. and four teams, yes, four of them, from the state of ohio, make it to the sweet 16. ncaa tournament highlights ahead in sports.
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welcome back to "morning joe." vanderbilt lost a heartbreak tore wisconsin saturday night. duke and missouri both losing. and another one in a tight game late last night. two seed kansas against 10 seed purdue. kansas down a point with 30 seconds to go. elijah johnson strips it, goes all the way for the go-ahead lay-up. 10 seconds to play. purdue down one point.
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robbie hummel launches the three. it doesn't fall. kansas rebounds. running on the fast break. so they are up by three. but purdue gets one last shot, and a pretty good look. glass, iron, does not go. kansas holds on to win 63-60 in a tight game. and they get now 11-seeded nc state. yet? because nc state beat georgetown yesterday. final seconds, georgetown needs a three to tie. jason clark puts one up at the buzzer. off the mark, though. the wolfpack hangs on to beat georgetown 66-63. so that sets up their game with kansas coming up on thursday. six seed cincinnati, three-seed florida state in the late late game. dion dixon, big steel giving cincinnati the lead right there. there's the game changer. they get a quick bucket on the alley-oop to bernard james. a three-point shot will come up
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shot. cincinnati 8-8 in free-throws down the stretch, beating florida state. cincinnati against ohio state thursday night in the sweet 16. 12 seed south florida. 13 seed ohio. ohio is the cinderella story of the tournament. winner gets north carolina. ohio down six at the break, but back they come. six minutes to go, the bobcats' nick kellogg hits the long three, takes a four-point lead there. there's clark kellogg's son, by the way. ohio, not ohio state, ohio beat south florida 62-56. so ohio, ohio state, cincinnati, and xavier all four advance to the sweet 16. that's the first time in the history of this tournament four schools from one state end up in the sweet 16. a big win yesterday for north carolina against creighton, but it came at a huge price with 11 minutes to go, north carolina's star point guard, the guy who makes it all happen, kendall marshall goes down hard, lands on his right wrist. he fractured his wrist.
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he shoots with his left hand. that's the only thing that might keep him around. he went to the locker room and came back out to play. but when the game was out of reach, they sat him for good. sources close to the team say he will have surgery today and is likely to miss friday's game against 13 seed ohio. opens the door a little bit for ohio. >> willie, let me ask you, "new york times" obviously talking about north carolina winning, advan advancing, but at a huge cost. they are supposed to be a favorite. how big is this? obviously, he is a point guard. left-handed. >> huge. >> but he can just play his left hand and say, go right, young man. >> my hunch is, a guy like that will play. he doesn't want to miss out on the chance to play. he did say even dribbling with the right hand last night, he had a shooting pain up his arm. i'm going to guess and say he shows up, a heroic willis reed type thing. but ohio is a pretty good team.
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north carolina by far the toughest one they'll see. but ohio is playing really well. a couple of cinderella teams with upsets didn't do so well yesterday. 15 seed norfolk state who pulled off that win against missouri lost by 34 points to florida. after taking out duke, performing a great public service taking out duke, 15-seed lehigh was eliminated by xavier. >> who do you like, willie? >> i think you have to stay with kentucky. carolina is a little bit weak. kentucky looks like the team to beat. michigan state is sneaky. tom izzo always has them playing well. >> always. >> what about florida? we have a couple of s.e.c. teams in there as well. the gators in there. how far can they go? >> i think florida moves on and probably loses to michigan state. but they have a really good team there too. so i don't know. i think ohio state is another one you don't want to sleep on because syracuse is a little weak too. >> yeah. ohio state could surprise you. well, not surprise, but ohio state could win it all. everybody is talking about kentucky and north carolina. you know who's also very good
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team, willie? >> who is that? >> vanderbilt. you guys played well. we were hurting for you. >> thank you, thank you. >> but they almost pulled it out. >> they almost did. wisconsin has an incredible defense. we had a wide open three to win the game. unfortunately he couldn't make it. we had a shot. that's all you can ask. there's always two decades from now, the next time they are this good. >> oh, stop it. still ahead, we'll talk to rick santorum. also up next, mika's must read opinion pages. we'll be right back. turn left.
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why did you support arlan
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specter for president? >> well, you know, when your colleague is running for office, and i was his colleague in the united states senate, he asked me to stand with him, that certainly wasn't one of my prouder moments. i look back on. but, look, you know, you work together as a team for the state of pennsylvania. and, you know, i felt, you know, that senator specter had stood up and supported me. and when i was running in 1994, and i did likewise. i certainly knew that ar land specter was going nowhere, and disagreed with a lot of the things that he said. and it was something i look back on and wish i hadn't done. >> all right. we'll be talking to the candidate coming up. time now though -- >> one thing about rick santorum is, he is -- you don't have a lot of cannons. he'll say, hey, i screwed up. for instance, talking about throwing up the sweater with jfk. he was a couple of days later, he said, i wish i hadn't said
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that. there was something else that he said his wife took him to task for. oh, the college, the snob line. >> yeah, college degrees. >> and he said there, you know -- >> he's not saying -- >> he is saying i took one for the team. that's sort of like his defense. >> he said it was a big mistake. he wish he hadn't done it. >> step back a moment and put this in perspective. everyone is dissing him for supporting, you know, specter. the reality is, every republican in the establishment supported specter. this came from the white house itself. they wanted to close ranks and protect that seat. and so he did what the white house asked him to do. which any senator would do in that situation. so now to sit back and sort of this revisionist history make it seem like he stood out and he was the only republican in the country to support specter is crazy. >> isn't this the second time? there was a debate where he said he went against his convictions, you have to take one for the team. >> education. >> yeah. it just seemed kind of disappointing. >> but again, you have a
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republican president and he comes to you and says, this is my top priority. i am a new president. if you guys undercut me and don't give me my top priority, then, well, you're undercutting. and he did it. i've got to say, i was there. i didn't do it. but most people supported the president there. and it is, unless you're crazy like me, it is awfully hard to tell -- especially a new president no. >> i had no problem doing it. >> and obama, how many democrats voted for the health care plan when the president made the phone call who otherwise wouldn't make that call? they wouldn't make that vote? they did. >> it happens all the time. and i think also especially in this case, when you have a senator from your home state, like jim demint. he is a true believer. jim demint, i love the guy. and i love that he is saying if you're a liberal republican, and you're a big spender, then i'm
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coming after you. i haven't seen jim demint go after lindsey graham. and lindsey graham, he ain't like cato's poster boy, right? because they are in the same state. >> right. >> so jim demint is not going to attack lindsey graham for not being a conservative. >> exactly. >> it just doesn't happen. >> the biggest thing about arlan specter is i don't think voters give a damn. >> no. >> it's not like the debate going like, really? they are spending five minutes on arland specter? >> you don't think voters are worried about that? i don't believe you supported him. >> i was thinking about voting for you because i agreed with you on afghanistan and taxes but this arland specter thing, i don't know. i talked to my friends and peoria, and we can't get past that. the wrong way to shake up
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congress. political entrenchment is a problem in a congress where 90% of the districts are dominated by a single party and incumbents can often take their re-election for granted. those who want to change that can better spend their money supporting nonpartisan redistricting in state legislatures. they can also oppose state attempts to limit voter turnout and use their money to encourage voter registration and participation in both primary and general elections. and they can lay down the weapon of the super pac, which gives corporations and the wealthy an outsized voice in campaigns, attack ads which are their stock in trade, are tainting the political process and turning off many voters. unlimited political money breeds corruption and cynicism and cannot produce a better government. have we learned that this time around as we watch these things play out and drag out? >> i would throw in about half of what "the times" said there. but the important thing as far as the day in and day out, it's not campaign finance reform that
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makes congress behave the way they behave or the lack thereof. it's the gerrymandered districts. >> yeah. >> and i do agree with "the times" here that if you have more -- sam, if you have more nonpartisan commissions in more states that are stopping the gerrymandering and making sure that republicans -- >> well, it's comical. they have the strips that connect little -- >> slivers. >> it makes the house so much more divided because if you're a republican, chances are good you're from a very conservative district. >> there's a million reasons that we can list for why congress is, you know, in these situation, but gerrymandering is one of them. but i wouldn't down play the money. the fact that someone can drop $10 million because he or she feels like it, it's a little bit nuts. and we need to understand that we haven't seen anything yet. in the general election when gets time, what's stopping someone from saying, i really don't like mitt romney or barack
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obama, and here's $50 million. that is frightening. >> sam stein, why do you hate the first amendment? >> i don't hate the first amendment. if they want to give money, they should give it to me. >> ok. >> at least you admit it. >> gerrymandering, obviously a real problem. >> it is a real problem. but we tried something a little different in 2010. we brought in a new crop of folks to sort of shake up the system, and look at the reaction to it. people went to their retrenched positions and rebelled against those who came under reform. so we're not ready for this game to be played the right way, i don't think. >> we have nonpartisan civil servants in the uk that do the districts and takes the politics out of it. >> if only we could do more like britain. >> or socialist italy. >> basically a glorified museum now. i'm good where we are. did you see "the new york times" article this weekend on the freshman class? they are supposed to be so rebellious. >> and they're not. >> they are falling in line. >> it's the long timers. >> there's a reason why under
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this, quote, tea party congress that the deficit went up $1 trillion last year. >> that was an interesting article. that was revealing. >> i did not see any of these guys or women on the barricades. i'm going to sound like an old guy now, like we did back in 1995. when you stare down the president and say we are shutting down the government. but here, they just go along. they shut down the government, and then come up with a deal that adds $38 billion to the national debt. >> that's so great. thank you so much for that. >> but, yes, one second. and yet the mainstream media still says they are radical, crazy, right wingers. now, they are not. >> it's that tea party. >> it's more of the same thick. we'll be right back. john to ywer is laughing at you. >> that's not really a good career move, buddy.
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whose birthday? happy birthday. should we sing that? ♪ happy birthday to you what's your name? it's kathy. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday, dear kathy ♪ happy birthday to you thanks, kathy. thank you. >> you know what? i don't need it to be time. >> it is time. >> nobody helped him in the audience, willie. usually everybody will join in. they are like staring at him going, please, please, do not segue into davy crockett.
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>> totally hung him out to dry. he asked everybody to sing along, and they didn't. he deserved better. we have to come to terms with something. the gentleman enjoys the majesty of song. he's going to ntinue to sing. >> he is the mel torme of 2012. >> let's talk about scott brown for a second. >> ok. because he's going to lose. >> he's winning by a lot. >> he is doing better in the polls and did some monologue style comed berick santorued y santorum. >> see that newt gingrich and both rick santorum now have secret service with them on the campaign trail. and in santorum's case, i think it's the first time he's ever actually used protection. yeah, yeah. just saying. >> all right.
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>> so he gets out the line. here is the problem. february 27 of this year. >> as of tomorrow, rick santorum will be asigned secret service agents. did you know that? this is historic. it's the first time santorum has agreed to use any kind of protection. >> so there you go. >> the inflection was different. >> i view that as just a couple of massachusetts guys sharing jokes, you know what i mean? you can pass them around boston. it's all fun. >> you know what paul mccartney always said? >> what's that? >> a good artist borrows. a great artist steals. sir paul, always right. >> caught on tape stealing. still ahead, we'll talk to mr. rick santorum himself. also, congressman elijah cummings will be here with us. and andrea mitchell will join the conversation. we'll be right back on "morning joe." to keep big winter jobs on track,
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massachusetts went from 10th in the nation in job creation to 47th. their debt went up 16.5%. government jobs grew at six times the rate of private sector jobs. if he thinks he's an economic heavyweight, he must be looking in a funhouse mirror because that is not the record of an economic heavyweight. welcome back to "morning joe." top of the hour. pretty shot of washington, d.c. >> beautiful. look at that. >> as the sun comes up over the white house. >> but look at that white house. we were just talking last hour about the president.
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you know, inside, everybody is sw sweating because they can't raise any money. they are sending out press releases that they are going to lose. and you got a tweet. >> from the barack obama account. >> i'm sure they are crying. please, please send us money. we're broke. >> compared to four years ago, right? >> so this is from @barack obama. in february, over $45 million was raised for this campaign. thank you. in context, they raised $29.1 million in january. >> so you're telling me they raised $45 million in the first quarter. >> so these are -- no, this is just one month. >> so for the first quarter they raised that much, right? >> well, $45 million for february. >> i'm joking with you. >> oh, ok. >> it's a line. it's the shortest month of the year. and they raised $45 million. >> well, in 29 days. there was leap year.
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>> oh, leap year. so they are doing ok. >> listen, this is a campaign that is going to have its cash. they are spending a lot of cash, much more than last time. but if you can raise $45 million in february, from 345,000 people, which i think is more impressive. they are not getting the big dono donors. the wall streeters are contributing this time. >> and what we're going to see as we move forward is an acceleration. you see it every four years. we have an, oh, i'm mad at the republicans or the democrats. the closer you get to the election, the sides just start scattering. and they start writing checks. and then they start saying, in the middle of the summer, oh, my gosh, mitt romney may win. and they write the checks. or rick santorum may win. hide your birth control pills and they write the checks. they start trying to whip each other into a frenzy. they get scared. barack obama wants to, you know,
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turn this into a kenyan colony. the extremists come out. and, you know, these fear tactics -- >> sounds like fun. >> but all of these fear tactics are used, and the checkbooks come out and they start writing checks furiously. >> and the best fundraiser of the whole team is of course michelle obama. she is the one who can go out. joe biden, not so much. the president, doing ok i guess. but she is -- >> she is doing letterman i think tonight. or maybe another night. but she is a great presence for obama. >> and the actual fundraisers. >> i'm saying, not just a good fundraiser. i think she is a good surrogate for the campaign. >> the best. >> i think all of this whining and gnashing of teeth about obama not being able to raise money is just a bunch of he. the reality is, he has a formidable fundraising platform. it is focussed on small dollar donors. it is not the big dollars. they want to get that, that's great. but when you have got 345,000
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donors already committed to you, you're going to be just fine because you keep going to that well over and over over the next two quarters to get those dollars. because they are not maxing out. >> here's $25. here's $50. and, mika, objectively, as a matter of math, barack obama is the greatest political fundraiser in the history of american politics. so, yes, they can whine and say we are so hard up. no. sending out the press releases. we are going to lose. the fact is, they are still heavyweight champs. they are the greatest that's ever been. and they have raised $45 million in february. they're going to be just fine. >> and as it looks right now. but you have to factor out the fact that gas prices in afghanistan and other foreign crises could take a major turn in the election. he looks good compared to the republican candidates. there's nobody out there. >> well, right now he does in march. >> yeah.
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no, i know. >> but david axelrod and mr. pluf, valerie, jarrett, every one of them will tell you, not spinning you. they are going to say, this is going to be a close race. forget what it looks like right now. it's going to be close. >> because if you look -- i think george will was saying this yesterday. if you look at how the, you know, economy is beginning to come back and how things seem to be turning up -- >> some trends. >> he should be doing better in the polls than he is right now. >> in the swing states especially. >> exactly. >> you look at the swing states. >> considering how bad the republican party has been beating up on each other, and how intense the primaries have been, you would think he would be riding much higher. >> that's true. >> look where we were three months prior to now. obama was apparently the lame duck legislator who couldn't get anything done. the jobs package was dead on arrival. barely getting pieces on there. and we were all writing about how he was going to be one of
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the worst presidential incumbents heading into re-election in history. now we are allalking about how he is in this envious position. things change. >> yes, they can, as they did for him. >> and the new reality will set in. you'll have a winnowed republican field, probably two people running. if not de facto nominee going into the summer. that changes the dynamics. >> how sure are you of that? >> not very, but it sounds good. it's a good script line. another good "new york times" story this weekend is the brokered convention. >> it won't be brokered. it will be contested. >> it will be contested. >> it will not be brokered. >> and it's funny listening to mitt romney's people. it's very likely. you talk to -- >> check the numbers. >> you talk to mitt romney's people and they say rick santorum won't get there. they may say they are going to get there, but the math doesn't add up for them. >> and the difference is the rules. and i know you know more about this than anyone because you were responsible for them. but the fact is they can go back to florida and arizona and say
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they cheated by doing -- by going early, and they can contest the seating of those allegations. it's going to look like the mississippi delegation back in 1972, fighting the seating of different delegations. >> the complaint has been filed. the delegates arguably will go before the committee, the appropriate committee, and they will be decided whether or not they are to be seated. and all for mitt romney or a portion. >> and duncan's committee, the former chairman. >> so what happens? you go through the first -- >> the first ballot is you have to vote for the person that you're attached to. >> so mitt doesn't get -- >> he doesn't have 1144, there's no nominee. selected. >> and how bound are they? >> they are absolutely bound. >> what about the second? >> it opens up. >> can say they we want chris christie, and everybody could vote for him in the second? >> it doesn't work quite like that. chris christie would have to get on the ballot for the nomination, you know, on the floor.
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>> well, somebody has to nominate him. >> but somebody could nominate chris on the floor. i'm sure the new jersey delegation would be glad to do that. then you could have a chris christie or a mitch daniels or a jeb bush or a paul ryan. >> but there's not likely to happen because you're really throwing the convention open at that point. what's going to happen is that -- >> but why wouldn't you do that, though, if -- >> because the base is not going to accept someone riding in out of -- you know, stage left or stage right. >> you say that. but the base doesn't want to accept mitt romney. >> but, joe, you know there's a different dynamic dealing with the folks right in front of you, and all of a sudden somebody comes out of nowhere and is put in front of you by the establishment. >> that i understand. i understand what you're saying, michael. but i do know this. if the night before the convention it's all up in the air, and haley barbour goes on tv and goes what do you think, and he goes, i think i want to beat barack obama, and i think that mitt romney can't do it. i think we need to look another direction. caboom.
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>> oh, that is -- >> the delegates in this convention are more conservative than in past republican conventions. >> right, right. >> and that cuts against mitt. >> it does. but would that go for chris christie? probably not. >> probably not. >> but this is my point. that window, that 60-day window between the last primary and the convention is going to be heavily negotiated, regardless of where they are with the 1144. those candidates are going to be at the table. their teams will be at the table to work out what this convention is going to look like when it opens. so they are going to try their level best to avoid any type of, you know, extraneous noise so romney's people, if he is sitting there with 1,000 votes and he needs 144 votes to get t the nomination, he'll be talking very intently. >> let's say, sam stein, have you the real leaders of the republican party. >> uh-huh. who are they? >> roger els. i'm dead serious.
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you have roger els. and roger doesn't see himself that way, but he is the most powerful conservative voice in america. let's say you have roger els and haley barbour and jeb bush and 41 all on the phone. which of course the bushes like romney but they realize the conservatives are not going to go with him. and those guys all decide, you know, let's get out and start talking about, say, chris christie. a guy in new jersey that's got the highest approval rating of any republican governor. i think anything is possible. >> well, it's almost -- but it's premised on the idea that romney would accept that. >> no, it's not. >> why would romney release his delegates? >> i'm talking about the second round. >> well, let's say theoretically they did. let's say that happens. why would romney say, you know, i have campaigned for about a year and a half. i have been thinking about this for eight years. i came that close.
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but i was just a little short. you're right. >> no, i'm not saying that -- >> take it. >> sam, i'm not saying that. hold on a second. sam, he's got no choice. at that point, if he doesn't have the number of delegates, and they are released -- >> but he has the power to raise a stink. and what he can do is say, listen, i want that you want a white knight but you have 60 days to set up a presidential campaign, which is not easy. you have to staff it. you have to get the money. you have to get the communication shop in order. and then you have to start getting your name out in states where you haven't been campaigning and have little name i.d. how is chris christie going to all of a sudden say, you know what? i can win in ohio. you know, half of ohio has never even heard of chris christie. >> by the way, the second this happens, andrea mitchell, all of america stops. and they see the republican convention for the first time since 1976 a convention actually matters. and all of america and the world
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stops to see what's going on those three days. >> just imagine the attention. >> and you remember sarah palin before the convention and after the convention? the numbers went up. the money poured in. anybody that gets put in that position as being the person riding in on the white horse leaves that convention with an extraordinary momentum. >> how much leverage does santorum have to dictate what happens? depends on how many delegates he has. to be on a ticket. >> well, it depends on where he is sitting at the end of the process with the number of delegates given the fact that the vast majority of the delegates to be picked will still come out proportional. you only have eight states that are winner take all states. so you still have, you know, a big hurdle there for romney in terms of getting a significant number of proportional delegates. >> what can gingrich do with his bound delegates? he drops off, can he say i want you -- >> on the first ballot, they still vote for him. >> say he drops out before the campaign. >> he can release them.
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>> he releases them? >> they are still bound to vote for him on the first ballot. after that, they can be released. but i can hold my delegates as long as i want. don't think mitt romney will just give them up on round two because somebody else was whispering in his ear like haley barbo barbour. that's just not going to happen. >> can you imagine a scene like board? >> can you imagine him standing at the microphone like hillary clinton did and doing that speech, you know, standing there and giving that speech for barack obama the way she did at that convention? the unity speech? do you see that happening with rick santorum and mitt romney and gingrich? >> not right now. i'm not seeing it now. >> well, i think he's coming. >> he's coming. >> but you say that that echo chamber is bored. they are not bored. i guarantee you, mitt romney -- and "the times" talked about this. they are obsessed on. this they know it's their new reality. they know it will be an ugly 60
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days between utah and tampa, and they understand this is very possible. if rick santorum and newt gingrich and these guys chop up the votes enough, this is very -- >> ironically this is probably where mitt romney is at his best as a candidate, which is someone who is prepared, who knows the arcane rules of the process and can count delegates. we have seen time and again rick santorum has a very difficult time getting on ballots, counting delegates, making sure he is competitive where he should be. tomorrow night in illinois, he is not in four congressional districts. so it's ironic, but by sheer fault of being a bad candidate on the stump mitt romney has played into his strength, which is a good organizational candidate. >> what happens if mitt romney -- excuse me. >> people that know mitt, though, have told me he's not chris christie. he is not a fighter. he is not newt who says i'm going to keep coming back. they are not saying he is not a strong man. he's got an extraordinary business career.
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but he is not a guy that's going to scorch the earth. he is a guy that will gladly come home to his wife and his family and say, i gave it my best. >> what happens if he wins illinois tomorrow? are we going to be sitting here saying that's it, it's over? >> well, the math is the math is the math. and as much as he can say rick santorum has no shot in hell of getting this, it's easy to point out that mitt romney has a really difficult time getting it himself. he just is. >> the numbers don't add up for him right now. so he'll get the lion's share of it. >> why wouldn't rick santorum turn around and say, listen, we have pennsylvania coming up. that's my home state. i can make up all the delegates you won in illinois in pennsylvania. >> and, again, the numbers were low where mitt romney used to have to win like 46, 47% of the delegates when he came in third place in mississippi and alabama. which by the way, his underperformance in the southeast is really disturbing. and puts states like georgia,
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louisiana, arkansas, missouri, in play. but now he's up to 48, 49. he's going to get 50% of all the delegates. and the further we go down the path, santorum picks up a state here or there, then he has to win -- romney has to win 52%, 54% of the remaining delegates, and the math doesn't seem to add up. >> there's one thing we tend to avoid, we have declared this race basically over at several points saying mitt romney has it in the bag. and then we turn around and rick santorum scores a big upset. or we say newt gingrich is the insurgent one-on-one romney guy. >> or just barely wins. >> yeah. >> and i think we need to just calm down at some point with the sort of big picture proclamations and let things play out. >> we're going to be talking to rick santorum coming up, so we can ask him a little bit about this. >> i'll ask him if he'll give mitt a big hug at the convention and say, i love you, man. >> i don't think so. i think he's going to say you're a lightweight. senator barbara cawall key
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will be honored this week after being the longest serving woman. >> the first woman ever to wear pants on the senate floor. >> it's a big deal. >> the maryland democrat has served more than 35 years, including her time as a member of the house. the 75-year-old won her first congressional race back in 1976 and was elected to the senate 10 years later. i love that story. that will be fun to watch. >> very proud for her. >> and she is really beloved there. it's very interesting on a national scale, republicans might look at her and say, very liberal and very -- but you said that as lieutenant governor, she was the first person you would always call because what you needed, what marilyn needed, she didn't care if you were a republican, democrat, independent, loved her, or hated her, she would do whatever you
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needed. >> incredible constituent services. i remember when i ran for the u.s. senate in '06 she was quoted in the newspaper as saying, i can work with that steele. >> and not many people were saying that. >> not in the party, for sure. but she is one of these people that's about maryland. she's about marylanders. about our country. and yeah, she's liberal, but she's our liberal in maryland. we are very proud. >> we need more women serving in washington, and she certainly is a trail blazer. absolutely, yes. still ahead, we'll talk to presidential candidate rick santorum. also, congressman elijah cummings. and later, actor willem dafoe joins us on set. up next, a preview of the republican primary in iowa. you're watching joe j"morning j brewed by starbucks.
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senator santorum i think has the same characteristic as the president in terms of his background. he spent his life in government. nothing wrong with that. but right now, we need someone who understands the economy fundamentally. senator santorum has the same economic lightweight background that the president has. >> see, he gets in trouble -- >> we're going to let the candidate respond to that. >> when he talks about heavyweights because he called his wife a heavyweight too. >> you can't do that. >> you can't call your wife a heavyweight on the campaign trail. and then calling people you want to support you a lightweight. >> it's not right.
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>> stay away from the weight classes. >> it's not right. but he didn't mean that about ann. he meant like she is the champion. >> whatever he went, husbands, don't call your wife a heavyweight. with us on set, we have nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown" and a man who has never called his wife a heavyweight, chuck todd. >> she is a welterweight. >> and with us now from rockford, illinois, republican presidential candidate rick santorum. and you know why he's drinking the water? he is an athlete. i heard you hit the old bean bag yesterday, right? you did some batting practice? >> yeah, a little batting practice. we were down at lsu and watching the lsu-mississippi state game. did a little tour of the facility. and i saw the cages and i said, come on, give me a chance to take a few swings. we had some fun doing that yesterday. >> so mitt romney says that you are an economic lightweight. respond.
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>> well, you know, look, mitt romney, if he is -- if i'm a lightweight, i agree, he is a heavyweight. he is a big government heavyweight. that's what his record was. he put in place a huge government program called romneycare. put in almost $1 billion in new taxes. and of course, you know, when he was governor of massachusetts, his heavyweight record wasme 47 out of 500 in job creation. if that's the kind of heavyweight that mitt romney thinks that we need, you know, then we should probably just stickt with barack obama becau he's done just about as good a job as mitt romney does in job creation. we need someone who understands that washington isn't the answer to our problems. and that government isn't the answer to our problems. and mitt romney, whether it's romney care or the wall street bailouts, supporting cap and trade and other big government programs when he was governor of massachusetts, that's his record. my record have one of limited
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government. my record is one of free market health care, free market economics.ant while he may have had, you know, experience on wall street, i have had experience out there working with the average and ordinary people, growing up in a steel town, and i know what works best for main street america. maybe not for those on wall street, which mitt romney has a pretty good and strong track record of supporting. we have a great record of supporting the average american. >> all right. well, let's go there. i want to ask you about illinois. but first, since you talk about connecting with average ordinary americans, some analysts, including maybe some on this set, might have said that you got a tad bit side tracked on the issue of contraception in a way that doesn't connect with not only members of your party, but across the board. just totally off message, off base in terms of what plagues this country right now. were members of your team telling you to back off? >> well, as you know, mika, the issue is not contraception. the issue was government
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mandated health insurance. >> right. >> and that to me is completely on maeessage, that the federal government first off shouldn't beou mandating any health insurance. and specifically going after churches and saying that they have to do things that are against the tenets and teachings of their faith. you know, the left is very, very keen on talking about separation of church and state. when they mean the churches can't participate and people of faith can't participate in the public square. but, you know, where is the separation of church and state when the government wants to force churches and people of faith to do things that are against their faith? this is in direct violation of the first amendment. it is a very important issue in this country. it's important to people -- should be important to people of faith and no faith. this is a basic foundational right that is established in this country and has been in place for 235 years. and this president is rolling over people's rights, and that is a big issue in this country. >> so, rick, i certainly agreed
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when we were talking about the catholic church controversy. i think we probably are on the same side there. but beyond just that, i saw a video that -- of an interview that you did in iowa back in the fall where you said contraception was wrong and other presidential candidates didn't talk about it but you were going to talk about it. do you regret saying that? or is that just one of those things that you said on a day that you aaron you were -- beca know you also said you voted for title 10. no, you laugh about it. but i can give you chapter and verse of that. >> this is you guys playing sort of gotcha politics. i was talking about my own personal faith. and what i was saying is that the issue of out of wedlock births and what's going on in the destruction of the american family is something that i will talk about. and i have talked about in this campaign. i wasn't talking about access to contraception. that wasn't the issue. never -- i have never had any record or anything about talking about access to contraception. i'm talking about the importance
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and the integrity of the family as an economic unit in this country. as i have said many times, when you see children being born out of wedlock and the breakdown of the traditional family, guess what else you see? poverty rates go up and government involvement in people's lives go up. >> rick, just so you know, we have been critical -- i have been critical of the focus on this issue of contraception. i brought it up to you today because we've talked about it a lot, and certainly now that we have you here, we want to you respond to it. >> let's move beyond -- >> this isn't just about the issue of contraception. >> joe and meikmika, hold on on second. go to o any of my almost now 1,0 town hall meetings, and i don't think theit word "contraception y"contraception" has ever come up. let's deal with reality instead of what media tries to do which is pigeon hole you and tell a narrative. yes, i talk about the family but in the context of the economy and the context of a strong
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foundation for our country. and that is an important issue. and i will talk about it. but as you know, the principle issue that i talk about on the campaign is that we are losing our freedom. we have a government that is getting bigger and bigger. we have a group of elites who think we can run our lives better than we can run it ourselves. and we have another candidate in the republican party who believes the same things as barack obama when it comes to the big issues of the day, of government control of your life. and in specific the biggestt overreach of government, and that is in the area of health care. and on that score, mitt romney and barack obama is the same. and that's what we can't have in this election. >> well, i have certainly talked about your focus this in the past. you have known me for a long time. do you think i'm trying to pigeon hole you and stereotype you? >> well, the fact that you continue to bring it up, yeah, sure. i don't talk about this, joe. this is not the -- >> why would i? i think my record on this and in congress is the same as yours. all i'm saying is, it is a legitimate issue. we brought it up.
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and i was ready to move on. and then you wanted to keep talking about it and said that i was trying to pigeon hole you and stereotype you. i have known you for a long time. i have no reason for doing that. >> well, joe, the only reason i would talk about this issue as i said is with respect to government mandates of people of faith. that's why this issue continued to be talked about and should continue to be talked about in the context of government forcing people of faith to do things that are against their religious beliefs. something the federal government has never done and should never do when it comes to whether it's the catholic church or any other legitimate religion. >> mika? >> i also would -- i would support any concern about the decline of the american family. i just wonder how this -- how your team actually felt about how this conversation was going, given the message of the campaign and what it should be. let's move on to illinois. how does it look for you? you're going to be in pennsylvania.
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>> let me interject, mika. we have won 10 states where we were outspent badly in all of those states. we are out there with the message about what this election is about. we have a positive vision for the country. we have talked about creating manufacturing jobs and the plan to do so. we talk about the importance of energy. i wasn't someone likepe mitt romney and newt gingrich who bought into the man made global warming ideas and tried to -- and supported concepts like cap and trade and putting limitations on the ability of people to be able to use energy in this country. i never bought into that. and those are the kinds of things that draw distinctions between me and the other candidates in this race. and i think are the reason that a lot of folks are coming in our direction. >> can you believe andrea mitchell and chuck todd -- andrea, i'll throw the question to you next, rick santorum just said he won 10 states, and i just sort of -- it's jolting. i know he's doing well. here is a guy that was sitting at 2% in iowa a couple of weeks before the election. he's won 10 states. >> and done it with a fraction
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of the money and the organization. >> with very little money, very little organization, and against the death star of american politics. that is amazing. >> if i may ask a question. i wanted to ask you, senator -- hi, good to see you. >> hi. >> i wanted to ask you about afghanistan. given everything that's happened in not only the last year but certainly in the last couple of weeks, and what president karzai has just said about forcing american troops back onto base and out of villages, which is really their purpose of being out and winning hearts and minds, and this tragedy of course with sergeant bales, do you think we should rethink the mission? what would you do if you were commander in chief sitting in the oval office right now? >>t well, sort of two scenarios. the first scenario, if i was commander in chief we wouldn't have the policy we have in place right now, which is to withdraw troops at a date certain. what we did when we did that was made it almost impossible for our men and women in uniform to
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be successful because we told the enemy the date when we were leaving and gave them something we should never give an enemy, and that's hope, hope that they can survive through a certain date. we needed toto have a policy an we need to have a policy that says that we will either be successful there, that we will prosecute this effort until we are successful in ridding the country of the taliban, making it ineffective like in a sense we did in iraq, so the government can be maintained and we can leave.'s that should be our policy. but it isn't. and as a result of that, if the president's policy is going to stay the same, then my feeling is there's no reason to continue to be there because we are not on a path to success at the current -- on the current path. and we need to either be on a path of success or be out. and under this president, and this policy, we are not on that path. >> would you accelerate the withdrawal then? >> again, my feeling is that we should commit ourselves to be successful. but if the president is not
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going to commit himself, i don't see any reason for us to continue to be there.it >> chuck todd? >> senator, let me go back to you're in the state of illinois. it's a place that you're going to lose the delegate battle tomorrow more than likely, even if you win the popular vote, because of some organizational issues. you couldn't get delegate slates on all -- in all of the congressional districts. so organizationally, if you can't get there, and i know one of your favorite things is to ding romney for saying, hey, you can't beat me. you're having a hard time beating me, essentially, is what you're saying. >> right. >> but organizationally, how can you give your supporters hope that you've got it together to challenge the president of the united states who's going to have the most sophisticated operation maybe in the history of american politics? >> chuck, you know that the organizational issue that i had in illinois and ohio and a couple of other states, you know, these delegates had to be filed in november and december. you know, in november and
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december, you know, we dedicated resources in iowa -- i'm in iowa mentioned, at 2% and 3%. i'm in the state of iowa, and i have as you know limited resources going around, driving around in a truck with a guy named chuck in a dodge ram pickup and doing town hall meetings. and, you know, we've got half a dozen staff people trying to manage three or four states. and we dedicated tens of thousands of dollars of resources. not in iowa, but in getting on the ballot in about 20 states in december.. i mean, nobody in their right mind would have said, why would you do that? you need this money to compete in iowa. and we said, no, we're going to spend our resources to get on the ballot as we did in most of the states. the couple of states we had trouble getting on were really byzantine rules that required an enormous amount of signatures and rules and in the case of ohio they changed the rules on the last day of filing. i mean, this wasas -- you know, for an organization that was
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purely volunteers, we were in illinois and ohio and virginia. it was harder for us. but, you know, the idea that that's reflect of our organization. it's's amazing we are on the ballots we are given how difficult these rules are from state to state and how different they are. and the fact that we used volunteers to get this done in december. since that time, of course, we have been fine. we are getting on the ballots. and as you have seen, the organization is pretty darn good, chuck. we won 10 states being outspent eight or 10 to one. that tells you that why we may not have the money, we do have the grassroots enthusiasm that beat barack obama. you can't outspend them 10-1. you have to do it by energizing the base of your party, getting them out to vote, and making sure that you overwhelm the opponent. and that's what we've been doing. >> we were making a quick observation earlier about how unlike a lot of other candidates, if you say something and we talked about the jfk deal
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and what was the other one? the college deal. you will come out and say, hey, i messed up. my wife kicked me around and said, don't be stupid. >> yeah, she did. >> and did you it again on specter. i am just curious, give us a look inside sort of that bubble in a presidential campaign. because you always hear there is nothing like it. i remember hearing cokie roberts one time, 10, 15 years ago, saying that people that are congressman, senators, governors, they think that i know what running for president is like. there's nothing like it in the world. what surprised you the most out there? what shocked you about this whole process? >> well, you know, to be honest with you, nothing has really shocked me. you know, i have been through this rodeo, you know, a couple of timesy running for the senat in pennsylvania. and those are big time races. and you get a lot of media attention.in and they are taking micro scopes up places you don't want them, you know, i don't need to go on any further than that.
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but, you know, i have been used to this. it is, you know, a day -- maybe it's different every single day in the intensity of every single day. but, again, i talk to people who had done -- been on campaigns, you know, and i expected this. and i actually think that, you know, when youkn go out as i do and i don't read off the teleprompter and i'm not scripted by pollsters and by speechwriters but i go out and try to do what i think presidential candidates should try to do, which is to let people have some insight as to who you are. and i'm not perfect. i make mistakes. but i do so, you know, in trying to be very transparent and honest with the american public. and i think that's been one of the strengths i've had in this campaign, is that, you know, people know that what you're seeing is what you're going to get. this isn't some prepackaged candidate. this isn't somebody who is trying to be a composite of all of the consultants you have, but is trying to give you the insight as to the kind of
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president you'd be and what you'd accomplish with trying to communicate with the american public. >> all right. rick santorum. very good to have you on the show. thank you very much. >> thanks a lot, rick. >> thanks, mika. thanks, joe. take care. we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪ [ female announcer ] nature valley granola bars, rich dark chocolate, toasted oats. perfect combinations of nature's delicious ingredients, from nature valley. ♪ nature valley granola bars, nature at its most delicious. ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place.
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that could change the world? yeah, that would be cool. nissan. innovation for today. innovation for tomorrow. innovation for all. ♪ welcome back to "morning joe." a live look at new york city, the top of the rock. pretty morning. with us now, democratic representative from maryland, congressman elijah cummings. good to have you onboard. you're there and we're here. >> i know. >> that's a shame. >> i come to new york, and you go to washington. i come back to washington, you go to new york. i'm trying to figure out what's that about. >> it doesn't matter. we're here to talk about housing. we're going to get some big housing reports out this week. possibly some data showing an increased movement in home sales, which could be good news. but you have been tapped in
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closely. where do we stand in terms of foreclosures and people trying to dig out? >> since 2007, keep in mind we have had 3.7 million americans have been foreclosed upon. they have lost some since 2006 some $7 trillion with regard to wealth. and we've got to address that. we are here in brooklyn today in new york to hold a hearing where we are going to talk to representatives from the federal housing financing agency to try to figure out what's going on. we're going to also have an opportunity to talk to four of the banks. we haven't had that opportunity yet in more than a year or so. so i'm very pleased that we're going to do that. but we're going to try to get to the bottom of this. >> what is at -- because you are going to be talking to i guess the federal housing finance agency acting director edward demarco. and i don't think the two of you completely agree. >> no.
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>> trying to keep fannie mae and freddie mac intact but help struggling homeowners. where is there possibility for agreement between you two or should he step aside? >> you have to keep in mind that the 17 members of the congress have been trying to work with mr. dimarco for now close to a year. basically trying to get him to do principle markdowns. he's the conservator for freddie mac and fannie. he has the power to do that and it's our belief and it's based upon evidence that he has presented to the members of congress this would be beneficial to taxpayers and homeowners but he has initially said he didn't have the authority. we showed him where we pass legislation in 2008 saying that he did. then he came back and said that he didn't think it was a good idea. then we sent him another letter
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saying that we had a whistle-blower who told us that they were about to, mr. dimarco, was about to launch a principle write-down program back in 2010 around the election and then for some philosophical reasons he pulled back. not that it wasn't a viable idea. not that it wouldn't help taxpayers and homeowners but just some philosophical differences. we're basically saying the law says that you're supposed to not only help taxpayers but you're also supposed to help folks who are struggling and these are tools -- this is a tool you have at your hand. we want you to use it. period. >> so you think he should step down? >> yeah, i think he should. by the way, i've hold him that. the problem is that if he steps down, then others -- there's a certain -- there are three people that come under him and one of them would have to be
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appointed unless the president could successfully nominate and confirm his own choice. the congress, that is the senate, does not seem to be willing to do that. we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. i must admit that mr. dimarco has worked with us on a number of issues. we've seen him inch towards some of our positions like forbearance, allowing people to delay payments of mortgages until they get out of a situation where they might be unemployed but we have not attempted -- we have not succeeded in helping as many homeowners as we we realreally . >> wish you the best of luck trying to help struggling homeowners. >> chuck todd, thank you as well. we'll see you on "the daily rundown." >> chuck, you're a troublemaker today. be careful. off camera. be careful.
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sometimes that bleeds on camera. >> those birds don't fly. >> who is your pick for the tournament? >> i'm still sticking with unc but it's tough. >> marshall, articlington, went high school here in arlington, virginia. exciting to see marshall do so well. >> andrea, do you have a pick? >> i still think kentucky. >> michael? >> kentucky. >> he doesn't even ask me. up next it's "morning joe" football frenzy with roger. we'll be right back. i'm jennifer hudson and i believe.
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let's bring in roger bennett. roger, a lot to talk about this weekend. first, a tragedy. tell us about it. >> absolutely. the weekend did begin on a note of tragedy. a 23 year old fell untouched during a game. suffered a cardiac arrest and the startling scenes that followed horrifying really. fans looked on powerlessly. medics tried to resuscitate his heart. he remains in a coma. horrible scenes where real life intrudes on the fantasy that is soccer. the football world remains in
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mourning. it took two hours for his heart to kick back in. i think the problem unfortunately is his heart is fine. he's in a coma. they are worried about the mechanisms of his brain. it was a horrible way to see these fans, thousands of them looking on powerlessly as i say real life really kicked in. it tells you ultimately what is important as it pales to everything else we talk about on this segment. >> let's talk about the unfortune. liverpool, takes them 16 years to get there. they get there. won the league cup. they are going back again almost like 16 days later. what happened? >> quite a triumph. this is the man. quite a character. brilliant. he's taken on demeanor of a villain who scores great goals by day. ties maiden to the train tack with the express coming at
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night. bean pole striker. but then this man, stewart downing, you are a happy man. >> finally. he's had such a horrible season. they spent too much money on him and also the drunk by the name of andy carroll. let's talk about chelsea for a second. >> far too much money. >> chelsea has had a remarkable, remarkable week. first talk about what they did midweek and what they did yesterday and we'll circle back. >> they have a strike out. mika, you may remember him. tour torres. couldn't score again. i've scored as many goals in the last 24 hours of football as he has. he scored twice in the fa cup. hells freezes over. pigs fly. he scores goals. that's the definition of march
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madness. >> i was in italy midweek. the whole country exploded. everybody was watching chelsea. talk about it. >> a wonderful team. they won easily in the first leg. it's a home in home series. seems like they couldn't lose to chelsea. chelsea in a stirring comeback which made me cheer for them. i haven't cheered for a force as evil as them since russia in world war ii. remarkable roller coaster. there will be many more before the end of the season. >> it's unbelievable. fire their coach and great things start happening. long thank you for being with us. we'll talk to oscar tom natured actor william dafoe. ee time,
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good morning. it's 8:00 a.m. on the east coast as you take a live look at washington d.c. back with us on set it michael steele, sam stein, and back in new york tv's own willie geist. we have a lot to talk about today. i want to start first, this tragic story. i got home and was watching news accounts of this guy, robert bales, who gunned down 16 civilians. women and children. just about as horrific of a war
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crime, i think, and just -- you think of the massacre and terrible things that have happened in this country's past when they're at war. i don't know about you guys, but my first reaction was when i saw this was you gunned down women and children, we're going to have to -- we're going to have to give him the worst possible punishment to send a message. i still feel that way. you read "the new york times" on this young man. you hear stories -- you always hear this. i never would have guessed that son of sam would have killed. in this case, there were videos and there were stories about this kid helping disabled guys in his high school that everybody else picked on. he adopted them. he took them around. it sounded like he was an extraordinary young man until
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about the third deployment. and then the fourth deployment. and of course you have special ops men and women that are on their seventh, eighth, ninth deployment. nothing justifies it. i'm not justifying it. i'm just saying there is an extraordinary strain and the weaker among these troops just may snap. this is what happens when the united states is an occupying power for a decade, which we have been. >> if you go to war for ten years, you are going to get individuals who have been good, honest, upstanding members of your community who do three or four terms as sergeant bales did and who are going to crack under the strain. war does terrible things to people. it pushes people beyond the bounds of reason and humanity and the job of the armed forces and superiors is to watch the ones who are likely to crack
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like hawks and get them out of there. >> katty, i personally know a few people who experienced 9/11 up close who were never the same emotionally. who were shattered. who were a shell of themselves a decade later. and these were people in their 40s, 50s, 60s. but the sight of bodies coming off the roof, hearing them hit. hearing the thud, it still gets them up in the middle of the night 10, 11 years later. imagine what being an 18, 19, 20-year-old kid seeing the hell that you see in iraq. yesterday was the nine-year anniversary of iraq. what these young men and women have been through for the past decade, again, i'm not making a case for this young man. i'm making a case for bringing our troops home. the united states is not an occupying power. we are not good at occupying a country during times of war for
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a decade. if 9/11 shattered adults' lives, what does seeing one friend after another friend after another friend blown up over the decade or walking around knowing any second the sniper's bullet goes through your eye, what does that do the psyche of these people and to the wives at home? and the husbands at home and the children at home. this is -- we are betraying our troops, katty. >> i don't think any country can go to war for this long and not expect individuals to be deeply scarred by it. the longer we are there, the more tired the troops become. the more they will have seen of their friends being killed. of civilians in the country being killed. he would have witnessed children in iraq being killed.
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and this is going to happen more. every month we are there for longer, we are going to get more incidents like this. like accidental burnings of the koran. like soldiers urinating on dead bodies. it's going to happen. the longer we're there, the returns to america in investments you've made will be diminished. >> you got in trouble several years ago for talking about afghanistan. all of us in the table in new york have been talking about it for three years we need to get out of there. we need to get out of there in a large part because mission accomplished. 40 to 50 members of al qaeda are left in afghanistan. >> right. >> some of these senators have more people working on staffs on capitol hill than there are members of al qaeda in afghanistan. we are betraying our troops and their wives and husbands and children's and mothers and fathers that they left home. it is the law of diminishing
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returns. we're falling off a steep cliff. we need to bring our troops home. >> i would submit to you it's not a question of falling off. we have fallen off. >> we fell off. >> that was the point that i was making to congressional candidates in 2010 when they were asking me how do we answer the question on afghanistan. i said you have to be honest about it. you have to reflect to people exactly what they feel and when he see in their neighborhoods and communities about it. we don't get it. we've been here. we don't see the end game. there is no mission. to both your points about the soldiers, there comes a point where they become desensitized to the humanity that's required to be out there among people and not look at them as targets and not look at them as something to go after. they forget they have kids at home. they have wives at home. when they see in this particular case women and children, they don't see them the way they saw them the first day they showed
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up. something to protect. >> or the tenth day. or the 365th day. or the fifth year or the sixth year. >> i was going to say, sam, it's interesting, mika and i started going out on book tours giving speeches about 2007, 2008. you could already tell that americans were starting to ask where are we in afghanistan and why are we still there. you are starting to hear some of the candidates pick this up. some of the hawks. santorum is backing off. gingrich is backing off. they are starting to hear what we've been hearing all along. that is americans don't want to spend $2 billion a week in afghanistan anymore. they don't want their sons and daughters dying over there. >> there is political and economic rationale for it that's long since been removed, i think. it's very tough for any politician, the most vocal to
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say we need to stay. i'm not close enough to these people to understand why this stuff happens. this was a guy who was sort of alone in his town as in this was our bobby. he went to war. the guy from town that went off to war. on his fourth tour. you get the sense that there's so few people that are asking to sacrifice for this. we're just putting so many burden on such a small section of society that when things like this happen, it's shocking. >> by the way -- >> we haven't thought about it for years. >> even in vietnam, bobby could come home and talk to jim at the bar when he's away from a deployment and go, god, can you believe what we're going through and he has somebody to talk to. you go from the front lines and the hell that they are putting up with and especially in iraq and then in afghanistan and you come home and you have nobody to talk to. >> absolutely nobody. >> nobody to talk to. what does that do? let's listen to rick santorum.
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this is what rick said yesterday about the president's error in the approach to the war. >> the policy of this administration does something you simply can't do if you want to win a war particularly against a guerrilla insurgent force and that is give them hope they can survive. he put a time line for us to leave afghanistan. if this is the game plan, if the game plan is we're leaving irrespective if we can succeed or not, why are we still there? let's commit to winning or get out. >> first of all, with all due respect to rick and a lot of republicans agree with him, he's wrong on all counts. the president's mistake was not creating a time line that was two or three years off, it was tripling the number of troops in afghanistan and when he talks about winning the war, headline for all republicans and democrats that want to continue to fight this war, we won the war. it was an anti-terror campaign.
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we went in to get osama bin laden. we went in to break up al qaeda in afghanistan where they launched the 9/11 attacks. we killed them. we routed them. we destroyed them. we didn't go in to beat the taliban. the taliban is a different thing. very different thing than al qaeda. the taliban doesn't want to blow up buildings in washington, d.c. or new york or charlotte or atlanta. they want to be left alone to run their country by second century standards. we should let them. here's mitt romney. >> the timing of withdrawal is dependent on what you hear from conditions on the ground. that you understand with speaking with commanders there and people in afghanistan and ability to maintain their sovereignty and have a capacity to have a military to stand up to challenges they face. >> are you taking a stand while much of your party is souring on afghanistan? >> well, before i take a stand
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on a particular course of action, i want to get input from people who are there. general allen is going to be coming to washington and testifying this week about what the conditions are. i think it's very plain to see that the conditions there are not going very well. and i lay part of the blame for that on the lack of leadership on the part of our president. >> i just don't get that. the president, willie, has given and i'm not defending the president of the united states on afghanistan, i'm going at him the other way. i think he listened to the generals too much. he tripled the number of troops. and there are people in the administration that will say i was telling them privately off the record the same thing that we've been saying on the record. that generals do what generals should do. they ask for as many troops as they can possibly get because their job is to route everybody on the ground. but sometimes, willie, well, a commander in chief has to listen to himself and listen to the
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civilian side. i don't know -- what is this, willie, with all these republican candidates that are saying we've got to let the general decide the number of troops that we're putting in afghanistan and how many more decades we stay there. i thought civilians were supposed to run the military under the constitution of the united states. >> it certainly is not a profile in courage or profile in great leadership. if anything good has come out of the last month or so, what's happened in afghanistan starting with koran burning and this horrible incident last weekend with the staff sergeant, it's that we put afghanistan center stage and we're talking about it. john mccain was on "meet the press" yesterday and laid out the case again that i think you and i have listened to over and over from people that come on the set, which is that we can't leave because if we leave the taliban comes back and with the taliban comes al qaeda. the case senator mccain made yesterday was kind of that emotional case again that, remember, that's where 9/11 came from.
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wink. you don't want another 9/11, do you? the problem with that is they're going to come back whenever we leave. the taliban lives there. they're going to be back. they're going to grow again. al qaeda may come back there. do you stay another five years or another ten years or another 20 years? who's who say when it's time to go home. that's the problem with that open ended argument. >> someone said inartfully that the taliban was pissed off and they've been there taking on alexander the great. they've been there taking on the british empire. they've been there taking on the soviets. guess what? i don't want them to use our soldiers heads and our marines heads as target practice for another ten years. i've got the greatest of respect for senator mccain. but, willie, we've been asking experts and senators and congressmen and administration
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officials, i remember asking richard this before he passed away. for four years now, what's the long-term difference between the united states of america leaving in 2012 and leaving in 2022? the answer is, there is none. they'll mutter on about -- mitt romney says we've got to stay there long enough to prop up the afghan army. i mean, our sons and daughters are dying and in this case committing horrific acts in defense of the karzai regime? willie, how many decades do we need to stay there to prop up the afghanistan government? one of the most corrupt governments on the planet. >> i tell you another thing. the really sad part about it is you could have made this case ten years ago. we went in october and if you look ten years later, we could have come out sometime
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thereafter. we've been there building schools and roads and water treatment plants in an effort to rebuild a society that frankly cannot be rebuilt. >> barack obama's foreign policy. has the president lived up to his campaign aspirations from four years ago? we'll bring in co-author of a new book "bending history" to talk about it. also this hour, willem dafoe will be with us. first, here's bill karins with a look on the forecast. >> it's looking fantastic for some of us but unfortunately we do have areas of concern. first things first. these temperatures. we're still last full day of winter is today. it's already this morning 63 in minneapolis and 62 in chicago. chicago, this should be your sixth day in a row of record heat with a high of 80 today. really close to it if not there. the concern areas in texas. if you're in the dallas-ft. worth area, shreveport, northeast texas, a chance of tornadoes this afternoon and this evening. maybe a few strong tornadoes. that's that area of red. all of the way up to kansas city
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a chance of strong storms. you knew it was coming. all this warm air out there. sooner or later cold air would come in and that's why we see severe weather today. we're okay in the east today. most of the east coast is going to be just fine. a few showers and storms in west virginia. it's really the middle of the country that has weather issues today. the west coast, you had problems this weekend. slowly warming up for you. how beautiful is this shot? look at the cherry blossoms around the mall in washington d.c. gorgeous. hope you enjoy your monday. there's another way to help eliminate litter box dust: purina tidy cats. our premium litters now work harder to help neutralize odors in multiple cat homes. purina tidy cats.
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>> instead of saying we're going to win this war, what president obama said in 2008, all we hear about is plans for withdrawal. how quickly withdrawal will be. how about a commitment to victory? we've succeeded on the ground in afghanistan. we have control of key parts of the country. if the president won't accelerate the withdrawal from 68,000 that continues to be talked about in media, we with withdrawal with a stable government in kabul. when you say if the taliban take over again, it's one thing history shows us that al qaeda will be back with the taliban and that's the place where 2001 and 9/11 began.
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>> senator john mccain on "meet the press." welcome back to "morning joe." here with us now, senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy of the brookings institution, michael. the co-author of "bending history." very good to have you on the show. michael steele and sam stein still with us. >> that's still his name. >> so you call president obama a reluctant realist. others may have other words for his foreign policy and how it has evolved since his campaign speeches and his cairo speech. why do you call him the reluctant realist? >> he raised such big hopes about not just changing america but changing the world. of course we all recall his speeches on the campaign trail and as you mention in the first year of his presidency he talked about a nuclear free planet. cairo talking about repairing the breach with the islamic world and double foreign aid to make a debt in global poverty.
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big ambitions on foreign energy. most of that has fallen by the wayside. he's done a good job at the immediate threats and challenges. in that sense we said he's a reluctant realist. >> the harder thing was goals that pertain to our value goals values of the country. it almost seems like an extension of bush policies. >> in afghanistan i heard the segment that was very good segment. i'm more hawkish than some of you. let's focus on iraq where he did get a good balance. he said let's get out fast. sometimes he said let's get units out within 16 months. sometimes he talked about even faster approach than that. he took 36 months to get out. it built on the bush time line but he left no doubt he was getting out. you could say hard work was done by general petraeus and others before he was president and he built on success from that period so he had some good
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fortune as well. i think he struck a nice balance. reluctant realist. pragmatic but stuck with his values. >> you compare it to the campaign speeches and foreign policy. talking about iraq and slowing down the withdrawal and staying with president bush's time line. he's tripled the number of troops. if you were more hawkish, people would be surprised with that. drone attacks. people inside the cia not friends of barack obama say what's done more to intimidate and scare al qaeda. we're dropping bombs in countries where we're not even at war. there's a big difference between what he said in 2008 and how he's acted in the past three. gitmo. there are a lot of things that dick cheney could agree with here. >> reluctant realist.
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>> iran and north korea. he reached out. he wanted to negotiate with dictators. he wanted to turn over a new leaf. we are very complimentary an how it went. as soon as iran stalled presidential election. north korea detonated a nuclear weapon, obama pivoted. >> was that a turning point? hillary clinton said it. i was saying it on this show. i'm sure you were thinking the same thing. the president in 2008 was saying you know what we're going to do? i'm going to talk to iran. it reminded you to those people that the senator before world war ii that said if i could sit down and talk to hitler. it was laughable. was iran 2009 the wake-up call for this president this is a nastier world than it looked in
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2008 on the campaign trail. >> once he did that, he convinced the rest of the world that he was trying. when it failed, he could -- >> soccer moms in cairo loved him. >> fair enough. he got sanctions to work. in a sense he pursued bush agenda on iran and north korea than bush himself. >> saying i want to extend my hand to iran and then seeing how brutal they were, these sanctions, are they tougher than anything george w. bush got? >> they say they are pushing iran into a corner. >> what do you think? >> i think it would be good in china buys some iranian oil. we don't want china to increase. we don't want them to cut it off. if iran feels there's no reason to hold back, it may not hold back. we start seeing mining of waterways and that kind of thing could go up. >> are the iranians getting
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nervous now for possibly first time that you actually have the ayatollah coming out saying we welcome president obama overtures? you don't hear that a lot on friday prayers. >> we have forced them to a decision point in a way that you have to give the administration credit for i think. doesn't mean they'll make the right decision. there is scary potential decisions they could make. they are at a point where they may just be willing to do a deal on the nuclear program. keeping some of their latent capacity but holding off on development of a bomb because these sanctions are so biting. >> we ask dr. brzezinski this question all the time. they don't have answers. i'm sure you do. if they don't, i don't know that any of us do. iron is obviously the most vexing foreign policy challenge of our time at least in 2012. yet you ask a simple question who is in charge?
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and there aren't a lot of answers. it seems as if mahmoud ahmadinejad is not in charge. perhaps ayatollah is or revolutionary government. who is in charge? >> i think that what we have seen with them in terms of viciousness and willingness to attack troops in iraq over the years, it shows they have a strong hand. >> i want to pivot back to a point you were just making to joe about iranian perspective on this. we look at it from obama and from my view it's nice to see him continue the bush tradition. a little bit better with drones and so forth. but then how are the iranians looking at this? do they see themselves legitimately backed into a corner figuring they may have to fight their way out or do they see they don't have any cards left to play here and it's time
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for them to grow up and deal with the world community or are they just banking on china and others to sort of give them the cover they need to continue what they're doing? >> they're at a decision point. they may decide the pressure is too great and they want to somehow play ball as a tactical retreat. the other possibility frankly is they may welcome a military strike against their nuclear facilities because if that happens, think of what will happen next. not just iranian retaliation. the world will lose faith in sanctions and lose resolve to sustain sanctions because the world will say i guess sanctions didn't work. we went to the military option. let's just buy their oil. iran is going to kick out international inspectors, which means they can build up their nuclear program without us seeing what's going on. i actually think that iran may almost welcome that strike if things get much worse. >> except, michael, the iranians -- it's not a mistake that iranians have been the epicenter of international terror since '79. enemy number one for this country since 1979.
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we invaded their neighbor twice. they're pragmatic. they bend. they don't break. don't you think that iranians as they get pushed back to the wall will know how far to push us before giving in? as crazy as they are, i'm not saying they're rationale actors on the international stage, but they are fairly pragmatic in keeping themselves in power. >> agree with that 100%. what i'm not sure about is how much they value the nuclear weapons program vis-a-vis the economy. >> are they afraid of another uprising? >> they have to be because of what they see around them. they believe they know how to control it but they're constantly thinking about it. >> the book is bending history. barack obama's foreign policy. >> can't wait to read it. >> thank you very much. thanks for being on the show. actor willem dafoe joins us next on "morning joe."
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>> you are looking for something
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most believe is extinct. the rarest most elusive creature on the planet. the client has evidence it still exists. if so, it may be the very last one. >> that was a clip from the new film "the hunter." a movie about a mercenary hireded to find the rare tasmanian tiger. willem dafoe. great to see you. i was talking to you in the break, a wonderful story and great movie but the visuals is breathtaking. >> it's gorgeous. an important character in the story. i don't think a film has ever been shot in tasmania on this scale. >> give background of the story. >> it's basically this man is
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sent from europe to tasmania and you don't know a lot about him. he's sort of a mysterious character. you get the feeling maybe he's an unsavory character and someone called it an echo. he comes to tasmania and has to find out how to track down the tiger. ultimately it's a personal journey. he undergoes a transformation. >> great solitude part of this film. one man out in the wilderness. turns out not just one man out in the wilderness. what was that like for you as an actor to go through this experience of being alone in the middle of fnowhere. >> it was beautiful. my partner was nature and the camera. i had specific things to do because i trained and learned how to do a lot of hunter things. set snares and recognize an animal. >> you did those things? >> i had to. i do it in the movie. i to learn them.
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i had to do them with grace and confidence. it was key to the character. his identity was wrapped up in what he did. >> do you view the character as a dark character? >> in the beginning, yes. it's very much a story about a guy that goes from darkness to light. >> darkness to light. that's a good way to put it. i think one of the things that will be interesting to people is this sort of family you meet up with if you can give a little background on that and how that complicates matters. >> the way it's set up, i'm there in a row mote area. i go out into the bush two weeks at a time but i always have to have a rest station to download my stuff and collect my information. so i'm staying with this family in the house. it's kind of a dysfunctional family. two children are bringing themselves up and their mother who is self-medicated because she's just lost her husband.
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>> you sort of step in and fill that void. >> i step in. i don't want to have anything to do with them but i kind of get sucked in. something in me is reawakened. >> incredibly intense story. the business model on this is interesting to me. we've had a few actors come in. ed burns introduced us to this. the movie is going on demand first. >> it's on video on demand right now. it will open in limited release on april 6th. >> we're seeing more and more of this where you put it in -- you can put it on itunes and on demand before it hits theaters and it's a lucrative model for a lot of people. >> for a certain film it works well. it gives them more when you are doing national publicity for example if you are in a place where there's no theaters showing the movie yet or may never, you know, you can see it right away. also it helps with word of
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mouth. i don't know. i like the theater experience above anything else. i understand its value. >> absolutely. this will have great word of mouth. i do have to ask you before you go, talking about your range here. nominated twice for academy awards. "platoon" people remember that. you even did "nemo." this film was a different experience. do you have one kind of film you like doing better than others? >> maybe i do. it shifts around, you know. it's like food, you know. you like to mix it up. you have your preferences but you can't eat the same thing all the time. >> a little variety is good. the film is really good. i recommend it. it's called "the hunter." it's on demand right now or go to theaters beginning on april 6th. willem dafoe, thank you for being here. coming up, major announcement from apple. turn left.
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the passat is one of nine volkswagen models named a 2012 iihs top safety pick. not that we'd ever brag about it. turn right. come on, nine. turn left. hit the brakes. huh? how'd that get there? [ male announcer ] we can't hide how proud we are to have nine 2012 iihs top safety picks. so we're celebrating with our "safety in numbers" event. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the 2012 passat for $219 a month.
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hi, i just switched jobs, and i want to roll over my old 401(k) into a fidelity ira. man: okay, no problem. it's easy to get started; i can help you with the paperwork. um...this green line just appeared on my floor. yeah, that's fidelity helping you reach your financial goals. could you hold on a second? it's your money. roll over your old 401(k) into a fidelity ira and take control of your personal economy. this is going to be helpful. call or come in today. fidelity investments. turn here.
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46 past the hour. we just got word of a major announcement from apple. let's get a check on business before the bell with cnbc's brian sullivan. what's the news? >> the news is that apple shareholders will get paid in the form of a dividend and the federal government will also benefit. i'll get to that in a moment. here's the news. we know that apple has been sitting on 100 billion in cash. they've been criticized for that. do something with the money. today, this morning, about five minutes ago, they announced they would. starting in the fourth quarter, they're going to announce $2.65 per share dividend that will kick out every quarter to apple investors. they'll buy back $10 billion worth of stock.
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that's good news for apple investors who want the cash. but it's good for the federal government, mika. i know there's talk about what the dividend tax rate should be. right now it's about 15% if you're above a 25% personal income tax rate. either way, think about it. all those billions being paid out, you won't have to pay taxes on so the federal government starting in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 is also going to get a nice payday courtesy of apple. payday for two people. >> for two. if every company could have apple's problems. really. >> apple's biggest problem is that money is sitting overseas and they won't bring it back because the income tax repatriation rates if federal government tweaked those a bit, apple and other companies may bring that back generating revenue but that's a different segment. i'm sure i'll get nice comments on that one from your followers on twitter. i get called a lot of nice names when i come on this program. >> do you get tweet hate? i'm so sorry.
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>> you know what it's all part of the -- when you are of irish dissent, it's part of the thick skin. we have been abused for centuries. >> how is wall street doing this morning? >> a flat to slightly down open. but apple is looking good. back to you. >> all right. thanks very much. more "morning joe" in just a moment. i'd like one of those desserts and some coffee.
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welcome back to "morning joe." 8:52 in the morning. 70 degrees here. might be time to put the ice away. we had rick santorum on this program saying if you go to his events, he's not talking about contraception. he's asked about these things by the media. it's the media. he got sucked into another topic he didn't want to talk about yesterday on cnn and that's the regulation of the american pornography industry. candidate santorum argues that porn causes changes in the brain of adults and children and rips the obama administration and the justice department for not properly enforcing pornography
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laws. >> do you believe there are people in the department of justice who support porn over children and families. >> they were prosecuted much more rigorously than they are under existing law in the obama administration. you draw your conclusion. >> what's your conclusion? >> my conclusion is they have not put a priority on prosecuting these cases and in doing so they are exposing children to tremendous amount of harm. >> we're getting reaction from joanna angel appearing in numerous adult videos. she reacts by saying importa ii pornographers aren't trying to hurt anyone. big picture impact. >> why are you coming to me?
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that was a private conversation. >> what am i missing in the story? why is she quoted? >> he went after her livelihood. >> he offended women when he went after contraception and is now losing the male vote. what is he doing? he's supposed to run for president. >> you're a dark, dark, sinister man, sam stein. up next, what did we learn today. but what about your wrinkles. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it has the fastest retinol formula available. it's clinically proven to visibly reduce wrinkles in just one week. "why wait if you don't have to." rapid wrinkle repair. neutrogena®. recommended most by dermatologists.
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>> happy birthday. should we sing that. ♪ happy birthday to you that's kathy. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday dear kathy ♪ happy birthday to you. thanks, kathy. thank you. >> okay. with that, what have you learned, sam stein. >> my ears hurt. >> i learned that rick santorum really is the anti-stimulus candidate with his anti-porn candidate. i worked on it all morning. >> sam stein said that santorum lost his vote as well as vote of males 18 to 39 everywhere. he might as well try to ban the xbox. what did you learn, michael? >> after that i forgot what i
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learned. >> you must have learned something. >> i learned that politics and porn has its place but this race is still wide open and i still think it will be a fun summer. >> definitely. it's going to be great. what did you learn? >> last week the show leaned left. and now we're back. >> not even close. until i go up there and tear down. great to have you. great conversation on afghanistan. >> definitely. >> you can't say that was leaning right. it's time that we do something there like get out. any way. if it's way too early, what time is it? >> it's time for "morning joe." right now it's time for "the daily rundown" with chuck todd. have great day, everybody. >> mitt romney is the shining star of the caribbean. sweeps puerto rico. can he book end the delegate landslide with a big win in illinois